The First Taste of Spring is Caramel Flavoured

Yesterday’s weather was glorious and far too good to waste by languishing a-bed. It being the first day of our elongated weekend we elected to go out. Chicken salad sandwiches were quickly made and packed along with some fruit and bottled water. Mr L checked that the Land Rover clutch had not seized and we directed the dogs to the back of the van.

I gave my new camera backpack its first outing, though I did clear some unwanted weight from it before setting off. I think that I need to work my way up to the full backpack yomp!

We drove up to Whitemill and did the 3 mile wander around Hellihowe and the bay. This time we went in the reverse direction to our normal route.

Whitemill Bay
Whitemill Bay

I had been concerned that the green lane section would be too marshy to traverse but despite the very wet weather we have been having the conditions underfoot were not that bad. Just goes to show how drying that persistent wind is.



Silage Bales
Silage Bales

Not all that persistent – it had dropped for the day yesterday and al was relatively calm for a change. The down side of that was the incredible number of sand flies that we had to contend with when we reached the beach section  of the walk.

This was the first time that we had done this section correctly – all our other visits happen to have been made at high tide and had kept us on the wrong side of the fence.


Nell found a vinyl buoy to play with and I set my camera onto a high ISO and continuous shooting (Burst mode) and contented myself for a while in trying to capture some Fulmars.


So far, so good.

Then the cattle came to take a look at us.

Just a handful of heifers, they seemed placid enough –  though determined to investigate us thoroughly.


Discretion being the better part and all that, we decided to stay down on the beach before joining them on the links. It was hard going and quite slippery in places. We both slipped over, me on my bottom – holding the camera high to keep it safe. I decided I had best put it away in the backpack for safety and sadly I never took it out again. There was a stretch of rock that I really wished I could photograph but it was green weed underfoot and my camera is too precious to me to chance damage.

Making our way back up off the beach to safety we joined the observation party and reached our nominated picnic point.  Mr L chased the coos off with a hearty wave of kelp stalks and a few farmer-like shouts…

The girls didn’t take much notice. Perhaps they didna’ ken the English version. Maybe he should have tried a few cries of of “Awa’ noo!” though some Anglo Saxon might have penetrated, had he tried that. I think ALL farmers speak Anglo Saxon in addition to their own lingo.) They did move off a little to leave us in peace with our sandwiches. Not so those damned sand flies. Lunch was a hurried affair. Suzie fell off the edge backwards and landed on the stones waving her legs hopelessly like some demented furry fly. We rescued her. She did it again.

We departed for the final leg, keeping to the edge of the links though not too close as the winter storms had caused them to crumble. I tried my hand at moving the heifers of and was surprised to find that they respected my authority more than Mr L’s, they set off and walked on ahead of us. Clearly they understood the universal cow-shifting command of “ya! gedalongtheregoongerrupgerroutoheregoooo-on-ya!

At the first stile, we were met by many more lady coos. Evidence on the ground suggested the presence of a gentleman coo, though we did not see him.  Again, they seemed placid enough and though they did not have calves at foot we elected to use our discretion again. The tide was by now well in and there was no sand to walk upon so we picked our way gingerly through over the stones and through the heaps of kelp stems. Our aim was to return to the top once we had walked past the knot of cattle – Suzie simply isn’t up to the hard walking any longer. In fact, Mr L picked her up and carried her over the final section. He fell onto his knees at one point but maintained hold of the dog. I then fell over again and was extremely lucky not to do myself a nasty injury. I landed on my knees (one bruised nicely, thank you) and the weight of my backpack tipped my balance over, pitching me onto my face. My left cheekbone made contact with a round stone and tossed me over to bang my right forehead on a rather more jagged specimen. Had I fallen just a little harder then it could have been a nasty tumble. As it was my pride was dented rather more than my head.

Next time we’ll walk amongst the coos – they really did not appear to mind either us or the dogs. Not if the ladies have babies though. Oh nooo, in that case, should they be in our way, we’ll turn aboot and go back the way that we came.

No. I am not particularly scared of cattle but I have worked with them and I do respect them and there are some things that I would not contemplate doing… like taking a dog among a bunch of new mothers with calves at foot, when I don’t know the herd or their temperament.

The weather remained fair all day and we decided to walk down to the village for supper. So we did 5 or 6 miles yesterday in total. Not too shabby.

I have been wondering if this is the start of that Good Life I have heard of. In all the years that we have been here I could probably count on my fingers the number of times that we have visited either pub. Now, with Mr L on pre-retirement and having Fridays off, and with the mortgage paid off, we can actually do this – suddenly decide to have supper at the pub without getting my purse out to see if there is enough in it to fund the expedition. What a treat it was. The walk down in the evening light was so beautiful and I cannot believe that I was stupid enough to leave my camera at home!  Everything looked so different, being lit from the opposite side to the one that I normally experience. Even walking home in the near-dark, the lights reflected in Bea Loch would have made for a stunning image.

Next Friday I hope that we will go out again for another treat – Saltfishforty are doing a gig here. I hope that I can talk Mr L into it.

Speaking of treats – the Cornetto soft ice-cream  cornets at the Belsair? Delicious! We had the Caramel version and they had a wonderful proper bitter caramel edge to their flavour. I can see my making a habit of popping in for one of those. Bottle bank visits may become more frequent…

Today the wind has returned and the sun and its warmth have fled once more. It’s a bit dreary in fact. We shall light a fire, cook up some haggis and clapshot and settle down with guitar and spinning by the fire. A bottle of Cab Sav may be involved.

First though – I need a Blip. Having not been out with the camera, I find myself in want of inspiration. I’m trying for 50 in a row so do not want to blob on it today.

What can I shoot?



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